Substantial budget increase for HCSO to include SROs
Hamilton County’s Sheriff said he needs 25 million dollars more to run his office next year. Part of that money would help put an officer on every campus, but he needs county commissioners to agree to a substantial budget increase.
Sheriff Hammond is asking for almost $60 million for next year's budget. That includes a new $18 million line item to help fund Silverdale Detention Center and $3 million for school resource officers.
Hamilton County Commissioners will have to decide how to spend taxpayer dollars over the next few weeks. Costs are up across the board. Sheriff Jim Hammond is asking for a substantial increase to address school security.
“I have a lot of confidence with the commission to do the best they can with the money that is out there,” Sheriff Hammond said.
Hammond wants a nearly 400 percent increase in school safety funding. There are 79 schools in Hamilton County. Twenty-nine of the county's 30 middle and high schools already have officers on campus. Hammond hopes to add SRO's to elementary schools.
“Before they make a decision, the only thing I can kind of count on is these seven that Dr. Johnson told me he would give a half of million dollars out of his budget to give me seven," Hammond explained. "The county has agreed to fund the capital for those seven. That is roughly $140 thousand for the capital. That is for the cars and the equipment.”
Hammond said he receives more inquiries about school safety than anything else. He is confident the commission will understand the need.
Hammond tells Channel 3 in hopes of approval, his office posted SRO job openings more than a month ago to begin taking applications. The job posts are no longer live, but Hammond said he will still take applications from qualified and interested candidates.